Raveyard returned for Halloween this year, but this time I wasn't a zombie...
As revellers arrived they were informed that they had just passed away and would meet St Peter who would make the final judgement call on where they were to be sent for their afterlife. Hell was the place to be, with a programme of appropriately loud and sinful music. Purgatory was an endless queue filled with so much smoke you couldn't see your feet, let alone an escape route.
Representing Heaven as Gwendolyn, a lovely old lady who died peacefully in her sleep some time ago, I was joined by Petunia and Esmerelda who were in the same age bracket. Surrounded by deck chairs and clouds, and Kate Bush's 'Wuthering Heights' on repeat, we welcomed in the newly dead with open arms and a plate of Custard Creams (which we'd made ourselves only that morning!) Some of them did not, sadly, adhere to the strict scent code, and were plastered in the fancy Lidl perfume 'Suddenly Madame Glamour'. We all had a wonderful time regaling them with tales of our misspent/uneventful youth, though many of them did seem rather keen to leave. Unfortunately no one stayed for the recorder recital or the lecture on the way of God. What a shame! The youth are so fickle these days *sigh*.
Last month I was excited to be one of the 16 in a show for babies - 16 Singers.
Dance Umbrella describe it as:
'A special experience, created by Katherine Morley for babies aged 0 – 18 months and their grownups, it cleverly captures the attention of tiny spectators using breath, rhythms and song, and by blending movement with an intricate, moving set.
Director Katherine Morley has brought together a team of artists passionate about creating work for children. Paul Rissmann, described by The Herald newspaper in Scotland as “the Pied Piper of classical music”, has written an uplifting score sung by the performers as they move amongst the babies. Choreographer Rosie Heafford, best known for her collaboration in the hit Dad Dancing, adds gentle patterns of movement in and around the delicately woven sculpture created by Sophia Clist, of Theatre-Rites fame.
With its very young audience at its heart, 16 Singers is a rare opportunity to share a beautifully crafted performance with your baby.'
Until the babies arrived in the audience it was hard to see how it would work, but I was surprised to find their level of engagement throughout was consistently high. There were certain moments in the show which were always completely silent, and it was exhilarating to be entertaining such a unique audience. There isn't much (if any) theatre for humans so young, and children's theatre in general often attempts to be interactive and force a reaction - Morley's idea is to treat the babies as spectators, producing a work that would develop their capacity BE entertained rather than engage in an activity. The theory behind the work was evident in the success of the show - a consistent comment from parents was that they had never seen their child sit so still for so long!
I've always wanted to try out life modelling, and this weekend lent the opportunity - drawing instructor Mia Rivka Gubbay invited me to Winterwell festival in Cambridgeshire, with the added proviso that if I wanted to earn some money I could take my clothes off and let drunk people draw me. Without really thinking about it, I said yes.
Nearer the time, I began to get anxious about what I'd agreed to. What was 'normal' pubic hair? What if I started my period in the middle? What if I saw someone I knew? ... If I'd let the worries take over, I realised, I'd waste the experience, so I gave my bikini line a brief, inefficient wax and decided that:
a) If I didn't know what 'normal' pubic hair looked like it wouldn't matter, and maybe no one did: I should just have it how I liked it.
b) If I started my period it would be embarrassing but worth it for the story I'd be able to tell afterwards.
c) If someone I knew saw me they'd probably just be impressed by my huge balls.
So, I did it. I practised the moment when I took off my robe, so it wouldn't be awkward, and pretended I was completely at ease, and after the first few moments, I actually was. Then, after about 10 more moments, holding poses became uncomfortable, an exercise in mind over matter: you become very aware of your muscles, posture and breathing. Halfway through the first hour and a half, I also managed to convince myself that I HAD started my period - I could feel liquid gushing down my leg and over my ankle. I desperately tried to communicate with Mia telepathically - I'd already made her swear she'd get people out if she saw any blood. To her credit, she did ask if I was okay. But I wasn't sure about using the code word we'd worked out. If I used it once on a false alarm I wouldn't be able to use it again. So I just carried on and hoped for the best. Which is lucky, because it was all in my mind.
We had 2 sessions of 1 and a half hours each, and they were both very interesting experiences. I'm glad I did it, and glad that it was a less formal environment than an average class. The students were a mixture of people who'd done it before and those who hadn't, drunk and sober, men and women. One drunk man kept us entertained by lecturing us on Geography. Most of the 'good' drawings were taken away by the artists, but they let me keep the rest. But actually some of those drawings are my favourites. Luckily I made friends with my body long ago, otherwise I may have had some issues with some of their proportions! (I know I have a small head but.... really?)
Mia's blog describes some of the work she does: http://imaginationandskepticism.tumblr.com/
Shut Up & Sit Down are a board game review body with 4 bodies (there's 4 of them). Which means they know all the best games and how to play them. Which is fun when you get to play them too. Which is why I was very happy to be invited to try out the new Star Wars Game with one of the bodies.
I thought I was just there to play a game, but for about 10 mins in the 13 hour game playing day, Matt turned his camera on and captured some invaluable footage of us to use in his video. So, that's what I've been doing...
The Royal Society for the Pursuit of Lovebirds: dating agency and amateur birdwatching society
Breaking beds not hearts, we were out in force at Citadel festival, finding love matches and setting them aflame all over the park. Our President partook in a gruelling space hopper race finishing last but certainly not least! The highlight of the day had to be watching the all male Chaps Choir, who enabled us to make a lot of matches in a short space of time. Thank you, Chaps!
That's me as a fisherman... and a skater... and a lady with a beach umbrella. But mainly as a fisherman. What a fun day at the beach! Thanking you, Studio Yes.
Last week I was honoured to be picked as artist Immy Webb's first subject for a portrait project she's starting. If you've ever been to an art gallery or an old house you'll know that portraits are classically of white men. Immy wants to redress the balance by painting portraits in a traditional style, but with all female subjects. One portrait, coming soon!
A big thanks to The British Library, Burning Man and David Normal for an absolutely fabulous last night at the Crossroads of Curiosity at the BL. My band Mandra performed 4 songs, each based on one of David's murals, which in turn were created from collages of pictures taken from the archives. We had a wonderful Summer Solstice and hope everyone who came down did too!
David Normal's Illuminated box of beautiful and mysterious murals will be exhibited on the BL piazza for another couple of months - make sure you get to see them!
I've been working a lot with Studio Yes, I'm happy to say, last week making voiceovers of real celebrity tweets. These were then superimposed on kittens... This meant turning our faces into green screens by face-painting green beards on ourselves, which would have been fine but they were very hard to get off and I had another job to go to afterwards. But that's another story... Here's a tweet Ellie Goulding did.
As part of Rosa Koolhoven’s Sessions on Sunday, we spent the better part of Sunday afternoon in our front room studio, taking snaps… I was pretty hungover, so I opted for a bedraggled monobrow look, and movement inspired by the idea of ‘becoming’ a lampshade. The results were impressive, and I’m forever indebted to Rosa, who provided nibbles AND champagne too. Check out her blog to discover her freelance manifesto:
Bob Benedict are a curious directing duo from London. They make epically picturesque short films with strange undertones and hidden depths. It's a shame they're so difficult to work with. Anyway, here's a film they made with me in it. They let me keep the bum bag.
In preparation for the next Scribble pie, I've been trying on lots of outfits...
Somewhere between model UN with aliens and The Thick of It with... aliens, Watch the Skies is a megagame with teams representing different countries. Each player had a different role within the team (Premiers, Ambassadors, Scientists...) As Japan's Deputy for War I helped negotiate Japan's struggle to better its place in the world and understand the presence of strange aliens who stole cats and communicated with whales... A weird & wonderful day, and such a pleasure to be a part of the Shut Up & Sit Down crew who were largely responsible for the increased turnout of this year's game. Here's the first part of the video they've made:
At the moment i've taken a 3 week writing sabbatical to LA. I'm completing a second draft of my novel, as well as making contact with some theatres to see if they'll let me perform.
Phoebe is an artist and producer, her practice is defined by its location and context, investigating and exploring how people perceive their social framework. She works in response to and in collaboration with individuals and communities.
As Studio Manager I've been helping Phoebe collate her press, research new opportunities and facilitate her various projects.